Unintentionally Athletic

Every now and then, someone comments on how I look.  Usually someone I haven’t seen in a little while.  Specifically, how there’s less of me to look at.  I guess it’s time to admit it: I’ve lost a bit of weight.

I have a hard time talking about it in too much detail for a lot of reasons.  For one thing, I still consider this whole fitness thing to be a work in progress.  But since I’m now past a year of running, and the comments haven’t seemed to stop yet, I think I should get my story straight.

If you’ve been among those who’ve asked me how much weight I’ve lost, you probably didn’t get a straight answer.  This is because when I was at my absolute heaviest, I had no idea how much I weighed.  I wasn’t getting regular check-ups with my family doctor, and I don’t think my parents have ever had a scale in the house.  So the heaviest I’ve actually recorded myself at was 218 pounds, in 2008.  Here’s a picture taken of me at around that time:

Me on Graduation Day, 2008

I’m not sure what my heaviest ever was, but I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say I came close to 250 pounds at some point.  Those of you reading this who have known me longer than 10 years can probably vouch for this.

So for the sake of argument, the intentional and continued weight loss started in the summer of 2008, and my starting weight was 218 pounds.  The first big milestone was getting under 210.  Not because it was an enormous amount to lose, but because it made a big difference in my appearance.  Here’s me somewhere around that milestone, sticking it to the man on Halloween:

Only about 10 pounds less than above, but there’s obviously a bigger change between the two pictures than just a respectable haircut.  Fast-forward to around May of 2009.  I’d kept up with the gym, but by this point, the main office for the company I was working for had moved.  The new location was considerably farther away from Union Station in Toronto than the previous office.  This meant in addition to my (now somewhat dwindling) gym time, I was walking between 45 and 60 minutes to and from work.  After a few months of regular and lengthy walking, I broke the 200 pound plateau I’d been at since at least age 13.  It didn’t look or feel all that different from 210 pounds, but it presented a huge victory all the same.

I probably parked at a shade under 200 pounds for about a year, but for most of 2010, I was steadily becoming a little more fit.  Aside from the walking, I started running the Wentworth Stairs (500+ metal steps up the Niagara Escarpment) and doing the occasional four or five song jog at a track near my apartment.  It was around this time that I scheduled the first Physical of my adult life, along with bloodwork and all that good stuff.  According to my Doctor, I was 194 pounds with slightly elevated cholesterol and blood pressure.  I panicked.  I was nearly 26 years old, but those didn’t sound like 26 year-old conditions.  46, perhaps.  Nothing a bit of red wine and exercise couldn’t fix, he said.  The next day, I overdosed on the latter and gave myself a pretty nasty case of heatstroke for the weekend.

But I did start taking exercise more seriously at this point. I started experimenting a little bit more with different kinds of exercise after leaving my job in Toronto and going back to school.  I was within six months of getting married, and was determined to get my weight down to what I assumed to be a correct weight for my height: 180 pounds.

I tried rock climbing, tried to keep up with running (I usually did 4-5km a few times a week fairly late in the day), and spent a lot of time playing Wii Fit.  I’m not sure what my final weight was, but here’s what I looked like on the big day:

I’m the one on the right.

Within a few weeks of the honeymoon ending, I started running on the Rail Trail, a semi-paved trail between Hamilton and Brantford.  Alissa and I’s new home was within walking distance of it, and one night while watching a Hockey game, I decided I was going to go for a run.   As you may have noticed, it’s become a pretty big part of my life ever since.

Since May-ish of 2011, I’ve logged somewhere north of 1,000km on the rail trail, roads, and a beach in the Dominican Republic.  I ran the Road2Hope Half-Marathon in 2:05, and the legendary Around The Bay 30km road race in 3:20.  At my last medically accurate weigh-in shortly after the half-marathon, I was 182 pounds.  At Around the Bay, I looked like this:

The smile didn’t last long.  I barely finished, and hobbled across the finish line with a strained IT band at a considerably slower pace than I was hoping for (my goal was to break 3 hours).

Like I said, it’s still a work in progress.  I have a few short-term goals in mind, like running a full marathon or a mini-triathlon.  Both of those, I hope to do before I turn 30 in the summer of 2014.  At the moment, I’m running a few times per week (usually around 20k total) and biking to and from my job in Burlington; about 20km each way.  I’m not sure what I weigh right now, but this is the most recent photo of me, taken at CBC Hamilton’s James Street offices:

Progress has clearly been made.

I’m not sure what the ultimate goal will be, but I do want to keep going.  I come from a family with a lot of Octogenarians, and my Nana just turned 90, so that provides a very distant motivation.  I don’t know if that’s enough, but for now?  It’ll do just fine.  And in the meantime, I can at least get around to replacing all those Extra-Large t-shirts with Mediums.

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